Chased by Dinosaurs DVD review

The Discovery Channel created a huge hit with their Walking With Dinosaurs series. Since it's debut a few years back, they have created a franchise out of it with features like Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, Caveman, and a short DVD exclusive entitled Allosaurus. All of these have been exceptional releases and the latest in the series was co-produced with the BBC. Chased by Dinosaurs is a step down from all the previous entries, but is still a quality piece and well worth checking out for fans of the series. Chased by Dinosaurs features Nigel Marvin who goes back in time to the age of dinosaurs. In a Crocodile Hunter like quest, he sets off searching for specific creatures and shows them to the viewers. All the creatures are CG generated, save for a few close ups. The disc is split into 5 episodes, 3 which take place under the sea, couting down the most viscous predators the water has ever seen. Each episode runs around a half hour long.
Not only is the CG not up to par, but the information presented here just doesn't seem as interesting as the rest of the series. There is very little sense of danger at any point and the entire package has more potential than has been utilized. It's a creative idea that just doesn't get exectued as well as it should. Still, there is some information here that teaches kids what they want to know. This is for the younger set and no one else. (** out of *****) All the video is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and hardly looks better than a cable broadcast. The colors are muted and the nightime sequences are abysmal. The added sharpness that the format provies has been captured, but the presentation here is a major drop in quality from previous entries in the series. (**) Likewise, the sound doesn't fare any better. Presented in Dolby 2.0 stereo, this is yet another drop from the usual 5.1 surround these documentaries include. Everything is clear and easily understandable, but the underwater sequences really could have been spectacular with the proper sound options. (**) The extras include trailers for the other documentaries in the series and a dinosaur fact file that shows text screens of information on the various featured dinosaurs. The big extra is a nearly hour long documentary on palentologists and their quest to prove that large carnivours where actually pack hunters. It also chronicles new finds in the past few years including the largest land animal of all time named Argentininosaurus. Whether it was just the disc I viewed or all of them, there are major video problems. There are serious flickering problems that almost make it look like the resolution wasn't set properly. Otherwise, this is almost better than the feature itself. (***) The entire package seems like it was rushed. While I'm sure this took alot of work and man hours, the final product just doesn't add up. The idea is there, but the execution is seriously lacking. Maybe a second edition could fix some of the issues here and make this a worthy inclusion to the "Walking with" series.

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